In a major victory for abortion opponents, Texas Gov. Rick Perry's signing of a controversial law placing new restrictions on abortion was closely followed by Planned Parenthood's announcement that it will close three of its clinics in the Houston area next month. Only one of them, in Byron, performs abortions, Austinist.com reported. The others are closing, the organization said, as a result of cuts to the Women's Health Program in 2011, when Texas lawmakers voted to block Medicaid funds from going to Planned Parenthood.
"It is a travesty that Texas politicians are stripping healthcare from women across the state, harming lives and unraveling the health care safety net that has taken decades to build," Melaney A. Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, told the Huffington Post.
Gov. Perry, at a by-invitation-only signing ceremony, congratulated supporters of the abortion legislation for their efforts.
"You have been a very integral part of this very important day for all of us who support life," the Republican governor said, as he stood flanked by state Representatives Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) and Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker)."No one will ever have to ask, 'Where were you when the babies' lives were being saved?'" Perry said, as shouts of "Shame!" were heard from pro-abortion protesters outside.
The law, passed in a special legislative session called by the governor, will take effect 90 days after the end of the session. It will ban abortions in the state after 20, instead of the current 24, weeks of gestation and will place tougher restrictions on abortion drugs. The legislation, reported to be 117 pages long, also requires abortion clinics to be certified ambulatory surgical centers. Abortion supporters say the new requirements will force the closing of more clinics.
"Regulations imposed by the new law threaten to shutter all but five of the state's abortion clinics," wrote Salon.com's Katie McDonough, who accused Texas Republicans of having "played fast and loose with women's lives."
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